Ellis suspended, fined $100K
CORTLAND, N.Y. -- New York Jets defensive end Shaun Ellis was suspended without pay Monday for the team's regular-season opener and fined $100,000 by the NFL for violating the league's substance abuse policy.
The 31-year-old Ellis was arrested in November and charged with possession of marijuana, speeding and driving without insurance after being pulled over by police in Hanover, N.J., a few miles from the team's training facility in Florham Park.
"I wasn't surprised," Ellis said after the morning practice at SUNY Cortland. "I knew there was a possibility of that. The league made a decision. That's what I have to go by and I have to accept it."
Ellis' suspension means the Jets will be without two defensive starters for their season opener at Houston on Sept. 13. Linebacker Calvin Pace was suspended in July for four games without pay for violating the league's policy on performance-enhancing substances.
"It hurts," Ellis said. "It's a situation that happened last year and for it to carry on into this year, it's kind of tough. I just wish I would've been able to have dealt with it last year. This year is just going into things fresh with that behind me, but it didn't happen that way."
Coach Rex Ryan was uncertain who would replace Ellis, a defensive captain last season and the team's longest-tenured player. Mike DeVito and Ropati Pitoitua are options.
"We'll miss Shaun, obviously, but we feel we have the guys playing behind him that we should be just fine," Ryan said. "So, don't worry about us."
Ellis was speeding on the morning of Nov. 29, 2008, when he was pulled over, according to police, was asked for his registration and insurance, but was uncooperative. Hanover Township Police Capt. Shawn Waldron said Ellis willingly turned over the marijuana when the officer smelled it in the car, and the defensive end said he had smoked some the night before. Waldron said Ellis had less than 50 grams on him, making it a disorderly-persons offense in New Jersey.
"I just have to learn from this mistake and move on," Ellis said. "Just put it behind me and get ready for Week 2."
It wasn't the only trouble Ellis got into last season. He was also fined $10,000 by the league in December for throwing snow at fans following the team's loss at Seattle.
Several fans threw snowballs at New York players and staff as they walked off the field after the Seahawks' 13-3 victory. As he approached the walkway leading to the locker room, Ellis reached into a pile of snow, picked up a large chunk and tossed it into the stands at Qwest Field, appearing to hit at least a few fans, but no one was injured.
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press